TWU

Historic Day As Parliament Votes To Make Roads Safer For Australians

Release date: 19/03/2012

Today’s vote in the House of Representatives to enact the Road Safety Remuneration Bill is a historic step for every Australian, which will make our roads safer and finally begin to hold major retailers to account for the safe transportation of their goods. That’s according to Tony Sheldon, National Secretary of the Transport Workers Union (TWU). 

Speaking today, March 19th, from federal parliament in Canberra, Tony Sheldon stated; “Today’s historic vote in the House of Representatives supporting the Road Safety Remuneration Bill marks the culmination of a 20 year campaign by the TWU, together with truck drivers, transport companies, committed politicians, families of people who were killed or injured in truck accidents and communities across Australia to make our roads safer. It has been known for decades that there is a safety crisis in the road transportation industry, and that this is linked to the rates of pay for truck drivers and the economic power of retailers.” 

“One in three trucks on our roads each and every day are carrying goods for major retailers like Coles. This market dominance allows retailers to dictate to transport companies and truckies on delivery schedules and price, and force drivers to queue unpaid for hours to load and unload. This pressure on truckies to meet unrealistic and often impossible deadlines and schedules results in truckies driving too far, too fast and for too long simply to put food on the table. The results of this pressure are all too grim; each year, an average of 330 people are killed in truck crashes and more the 5300 are injured. It is Australia’s deadliest industry.” 

“This parliament, after careful consideration, has decided to legislate to tackle this toll of tragedy. Today they have used the power of their mandate to vote to make our roads safer and to address the carnage on our roads. They have voted to finally make major retail bullies accountable. They have voted to allow truck drivers fair pay and conditions, not intolerable and unacceptable pressures.”

“This legislation is about the safety of all Australians. Over the past couple of weeks, we were honored to be joined at Parliament by the families of Albert de Beer and David Tagliaferri, two road users killed in a trucking accident in Western Australia in 2011. These women bravely shared their stories with MPs and Senators, reliving the horror of their families’ ordeal in the hope that others will not suffer in a similar manner. They joined truck drivers and their families from across Australia in this effort and we know that their story had a significant influence on MPs votes. I would like to dedicate today’s vote to the memory of Albert, David and to the safety of truck drivers and all other road users across Australia.” 

“On behalf of every road user, hundreds of thousands of truck drivers and their families, I want to thank every MP who voted in support of this legislation. This historic legislation could not have been achieved without the support, encouragement and dedication of the Gillard Government, including Ministers’ Albanese and Shorten. I would also like to pay tribute to those cross bench MPs that were supportive and to thank them for recognising the importance of this legislation to prevent trucking tragedies each and every day in communities across Australia.” 

“This legislation now moves on to the Senate and we look forward to engaging with Senators across all parties, so that we can establish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal and begin to address the deadly conditions faced by truck drivers which make our roads deadly for all Australians. 

Tony Sheldon concluded, “Today’s vote marks the most important step for road safety this country has taken in many years. It is the mark of a Government that is not willing to allow major retailers economic weight lead to death and destruction. It is the mark of a nation that believes truck drivers are more than mobile warehouses. It is the mark of a people that believe one death or injury as a result of a truck crash is too many.” 

ENDS

For further information, please contact: Barry Dunning, Press Officer, TWU, Tel: 0408 463 199, email: barry.dunning@twu.com.au 

 

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